Guardianship is a big step: it may appear to be necessary when a person loses the ability to make informed and meaningful decisions about his or her own well-being. But you must keep in mind that the senior will lose a certain freedom in the process. Is it the only option? What are the alternatives?
What is guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal protection measure. It is the most common option, and it implies that the incapacitated person is deprived from the right to make certain life decisions: write a will, manage their own finances or assets, get a divorce, vote… The individual under guardianship goes back to the status of a minor. This procedure is used when the senior’s physical and/or intellectual capacities are severely diminished.
How to petition for guardianship?
Guardianship can be requested by a family member (child, spouse, sibling or civil union partner), a curator (see following chapter) or even the senior him/herself (although it rarely happens). The petition for guardianship is reviewed by court and confirmed (or rejected) by a guardianship judge. When the request is accepted, it is the judge’s duty to appoint a legal guardian (also referred to as the ward). It can be a volunteer relative, or a professional guardian. The guardian is required to report on the state of the senior’s affairs on a regular basis.
Limitations of guardianship?
Degenerative illness, Alzheimer’s disease… Guardianship may be required when the individual can no longer care for him/herself properly. However, guardianship can also be petitioned for seniors who are intellectually sound. This is where the loss of autonomy implied by the guardianship status can raise ethical issues. There are ways to customize the guardianship rules, so as to let the senior keep certain responsibilities, such as daily finance management or the right to vote. But these arrangements depend on the judge’s decision.
What are the alternatives to guardianship?
Curatorship is a lighter option, that allows elders to keep their autonomy for most aspects of their lives, but implies control from a curator, who is essentially in charge of advising the senior. It’s all about “keeping an eye” on the senior!
Beyond legal protection measures, you can also provide supervision to an incapacitated relative yourself. Becoming a caregiver for a family relative is complicated: it requires a lot of energy to organize a safe and suitable environment for the senior, without impinging on his/her freedom.
Use a Weenect Senior GPS tracker to better deal with safety and potential “escaping” concerns during the first months of supervision. This very user-friendly device allows the senior to notify family members in case a problem occurs. It also warns you if the person walks out of a delimited safe zone. Features that can help postpone the guardianship step as long as possible.
Guardianship implies a loss of autonomy and freedom for a senior. Therefore it shouldn’t be taken lightly. With a little personal investment and help from devices likes the Weenect Senior GPS tracker, you’re able to avoid a brutal loss of independence and preserve your elderly relative’s comfort as long as you can.The average age of a person placed under guardianship is 64 years old. Click To Tweet